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  #121  
Old 02-18-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chall03 View Post
Thanks CD for the insight.

The 400 does look like a great boat but may be a little big for our budget. I have just found a Catalina 36 though on a local site that looks promising.

The issue is unlike a Caribbean run places like the Louisaddes are the definition of off the beaten track, so your right water/fuel and spares are going to be big factors.
The 400 is certainly one of the most expensive boats, unfortunately. They have put a lot more time and money in those boats then others. One exception would be the 380 and mybe the 36. However, both are out of production.

From a strictly cost basis/foot, you are probably better off going with Jeauneau or Bene. I glanced at the prices yesterday. They certainly seem to be less expensive and for a larger boat. However, I certainly would not base my entire dscision on cost.

Regarding the 36, it is one of my favorite boats of that size. I have said this before. Incidentally, I am a much bigger fan of the MKII versus the MKI. However, it is a much larger boat than its size dictates. The table folds up against the bulkhead, you have an entertainment cabinet, you have a "coffee" table to stbd, etc. Lots of great ideas that make the boat very functional. The only real issue with that boat is the difficulty in installing a generator. You can do it... but it will probably end up down below in the salon uinder a settee. If a generator (diesel) is not on your necessity list, it will likely do much/most of what you want.

DO be warned that the boat has a relatively shallow bilge. This has been an issue on very long tacks.

Ask SimonV about the boat. He has been on them, if I am not mistaken. I remember he and I disucssing them before he set off across the pond to Aus.

Take a look at the 380 before buying the 36. She comes from the Morgan hull and is quite a bit heavier. I have had that boat out in some real blows. It also has a seperate shower stall, queen aft berth for masters, can easily take a gen, etc. It certainly costs more money, but not significantly more. At least rule it out before taking the plunge.

Regarding the Jeauneau options, Marty obviously knows better. I am not educated first hand on those boats. Everything is obsesrvation or second hand.

Take care,

Brian
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  #122  
Old 03-31-2009
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Read all of the posts, almost forgot the original question. We started in Vancouver in 2004 with a 1989 41 Morgan Classic. We were new and had ask every question of everyone we met to try to eliminate mistakes. What boat what size what equipment. We met people that we thought were experts, (they were working in marine stores "topping up the cruising kitty") and all of them when ask of a particular boat replied, "nope, not strong enough, heavy enough, too short, too long..... well you get it. (These people are still there btw "topping up the kitty".

We settled on the Morgan for many reasons. The '89 was built by Catalina but still according to a lot of Charlie Morgans philosophy. The boat had no lockers topside except for one small seat locker in the cockpit. There was no room for propane. (we added a locker on the strbrd aft deck) It was a centre cockpit which no one liked. The cockpit coamings were too shallow for off shore. The drawers and cabinets had no sea latches. Their was no proper sea berth. The captain chairs were impractical. The list went on. We felt talking to people that this was not the way to go. We equipped her with everything. we had more strings, poles, chain and anchors than the USS Kitty Hawk. Our inventory included head gaskets, years worth of filters, alternators, gaskets and...well you get the point. She had radar, an inexpensive Lowrance plotter and a Robertson Autohelm.

Because she was a CC she handled like our 36 C&C. She had volume below and carried a beautiful aft cabin. Stand up shower. More plus's than negatives.

So off we went. From Florida we sailed south to Cuba (we cheated and had the boat trucked to Marathon) and our first overnighter was a gas. The boat was strong, the autohelm took us to 2 miles off shore and one crew even had a shower. (she carried 225 gals of water and 85 of diesel) We sailed her around Cuba, Haiti, DR, PR and then onto the Virgins. We were told Morgans couldn't point. I tack in 95 degrees and then tweeked to 40 degrees off the wind.

We spend 4 seasons in the Caribe from USVI to Grenada. The boat never failed us. We used no spare inventory except an alternator for one week while our Balmar was serviced. The surprise for us was that even in Cuba one could get servicing. Once past DR, everything boating was available in the islands. It wasn't until the second year that we finally threw the voices in our head out that had given us advise. We were fine and the boat was more than fine.

During the 4 seasons we experienced 2 hurricanes, one anchored in St. Davids at 110 knots wind speed, 4 tropical storms and many many squalls while doing passages. The boat was better than us.

We never sustained any damage, never dragged at anchor and never lost control of the boat.

So if your looking for a boat, do not rule anything out. anchored in Rodney Bay we saw a small 28 footer tack through the anchorage plucked down an anchor, snub it off and all disappeared below. Later in talking to them, they explained that they had just cruised in from Tenerife. 40 gals of water and 28 of diesel. That's all you need. and a self steer.

In four years we never broke a part that we had spares for, never ran out of water or diesel, and never felt the boat was inadequate. We bought for what we needed. Comfort. A nice roomy cockpit and a great aft cabin. Once in the Caribe, we never used anything below forward of the companionway.

Think of what gives you comfort and security. For us it was being well anchored, (lots of chain and a new CQR), comfort, an easy sail plan and a well behaved boat in seas.

Take everyone's advice and apply it to what you percieve the journey to be in your mind. In the Caribbean there were more 'goofy' boats than I could imagine. It's not rocket science. From St. Martin we said goodbye to three boats leaving for the med, one an old old 40' North Star with bad running rigging and poor sails, one a 32 Ontario and the other an ex Moorings Charter boat being sailed back to France to get a refit.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to get a few points out before I forgot.

We are currently placing an offer on a Beneteau 411 in the Caribbean. If her bones are sound, the rest is just polish and a few parts. You're new Cataline, Beneteau (insert choice here) will wear out just as fast sitting at anchor than being chartered. Any questions, I'll be happy to answer here or provide my email.
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  #123  
Old 04-01-2009
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Thanks for adding your experience and thoughts Bellamar. Best of luck with the Beneteau 411. Let us know how it turns out.
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  #124  
Old 04-01-2009
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Anyone know why foot for foot, new Beneteaus seem to be lower priced than Catalinas? Equipment packages being similar.

Last edited by night0wl; 04-01-2009 at 12:44 PM.
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  #125  
Old 04-01-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
Anyone know why foot for foot, new Beneteaus seem to be lower priced than Catalinas? Equipment packages being similar.
I'll take a swag at it, Beneteau being WAY larger than Catalina, probably has much better buying power if you will than Catalina. Especially when and if you include Jeanneau, Waquiez used to be part of them, one of the inflatable boat manufactures is also owned by Group Beneteau, along with a custom boat building plant too. They also build land yachts, ie RV trailers and equal. They also have an electric car manufacturing plant. GB is probably equal to GM here in the states. Not as large overall in total dollars, but when you look at it from a what all they own.

Thats my swag, altho i could be off a bit.

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  #126  
Old 04-01-2009
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They also own one of the bigger catamaran makers.. FP probably, but might be Lagoon.
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  #127  
Old 04-01-2009
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Scale is what I suspected...but the price differentials are dramatic. Upwards of 20% on some models, which is why I bought the Beneteau.

Although I do like how Catalina's still use all that teak inside...no exotics or veneers (yet).

In terms of sailing capacity/toughness...is one better than the other?
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  #128  
Old 04-01-2009
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Dog,

You're right, forgot about Lagoon.

Along with, while ea of those companies has there own Pres, and the ability to run independently, I would also SWAG, that Mdm Rowe does recommend that the say Oceanus line does not conflict to much with the Jeanneau line of cruising boats either. hence why Ben's are a bit less than Catalina's, which are a bit less than a Jeanneau. At least in the seattle area where I am. Granted one will sell a 32'ish foot boat for say 120, the other 125-130, and the higher in the 130-135K range. Same basic price point, but just enough difference/ambiance in the boats to sway one over another buyer. With Hunter being just below these three in costs too.

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  #129  
Old 04-02-2009
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Or maybe....

Maybe it is because Catalina still lays their hull up by hand?

Or maybe it is because they use solid teak interiors (very, very expensive) versus plastic laminated wood that falls off the cabinets at the boat shows?

Or maybe it is because in their layup schedule, they use E/S glass and even kevlar on high stress areas?

Or maybe it is because they oversize their hardware and amount of it? Compare, size for size, just the winches of a Catalina versus a Bene or other production boat (though Hunter is doing better).

Or maybe it is because they hold their value better. My boat is currently worth at least as much as I paid for it - and I bought it NEW!!!!! How many of you can make that boast? Now, given the maintenance and all the improvements that I have done, I am still in a black hole!!!! However, I could sell her tomorrow and not write a check to get rid of her. Pull the price on 400's and compare to the selling price.

I have long argued that Catalina needs to keep the same level of quality on their boats and if it costs more to make... then it costs more to make. That is why I have been a bit frustrated with their recent changes and shortfall of cabinetry. Still teak, but fewer cabinets. I do not mena to sit here and sound like Catalina is making better boats than Bene or Jeauneau and start a inner-forum war. But they do have a different philosophy on their products (or did). I think Hunter Marine is also trying to implement many of those philosophies. I think there would be a nice niche for a boat that cost a bit more than a bene/Jeaunea/(name your production boat), but would hold its value better and be and be better equipped.

Here is a bit about construction, taken directly from a writeup:

Quote:
Now that fiberglass boat construction has a half century history, it’s appropriate to call Catalina’s building methods “traditional “.Major structures are laid up by hand female molds (the molds are built in-house), and hulls are solid glass. The first lamination into the mold after the ISO/NPG gelcoat is a vinylester skin coat that acts as a barrier against moisture. Structural layers that follow are primarily E-glass with a percentage of S-glass, using mostly knitted laminates, which have more strength for their weight than woven laminates. At the California plant, high-density foam stringers are glassed into the hulls (above); at the Florida plant, hulls of 35 to 47 feet are fitted with a structural grid. Chopper guns are used for some non-structural components, such as iceboxes Parts that benefit from being finished on two sides are constructed with resin-transfer molding (RTM), a vacuum process that saves weight and reduces emissions.

Decks are the first structures to appear on the factory floor. (above). Except for dinghies under 16 feet (built with all-vinylester resins and foam-cored decks), decks are laid up with a balsa core with plywood or solid glass substituted for balsa wherever stanchions and other gear will be through-bolted. The solid coring is insurance against water intrusion. Metal backing plates, either aluminum or brass, are molded in to increase strength and spread the loads. When hardware is mounted later in the build process, an anti-seizing compound is used on fasteners so that they can be removed some day, if need be (below). Decks incorporate Kevlar reinforcing at the corners, and multiple mats are laid in for vertical reinforcing. For rigidity, decks are structurally bonded to interior overhead liners, leaving deck and liner as a single structure. The surface of the liner serves as a finished overhead for the interior.

On models built in California, engine and interior components are passed below for installation into a completed shell of hull and deck. Obviously, those parts have to pass through one hatchway or another to get there, so they can also come back out for repairs when the time comes. Douglas (in yellow shirt) says it’s a company goal to make a boat that is very repairable; all parts can be removed using hand tools and without disturbing other elements. The company makes an effort to sell replacement parts for all models, no matter how old, and Douglas touts Catalinas as good project boats for someone looking to rescue a fixer-upper. It would be cheaper to run plastic trim around the transom-hull joint, but the extra hours to create a seamless transition “are worth it for the look,” Douglas says.

Catalina builds its 310, 350, 387, 400, and 470 models at its plant in Largo, Florida, where interiors are constructed in open hulls prior to the deck installation. Heads in Florida-built boats are built as modules and dropped into place whole. Large hatches still assure that all mechanical and interior parts are removable. Boats built on both coasts have bulkheads fixed with adhesives and fasteners to act as transverse diaphragms while carrying no rigging loads.
THings I feel they could improve upon:

THey could tab bulkheads. I think that would be better but would obviously considerably increase cost. They currently use a deck molded "Ridge" or "rib" for one side of the bulkead (3/4 inch teak ply with marine grade interior), which is fastened every few inches mechanically. One benefit of this is that you can remove the bulkhead for repair, I guess much easier than if she had been tabbed.

I feel they could make the wire (and especially the plumbing, like for the head waste hose) better access. Instead of completely changing how they lay them up - keep the same design but put lockers or access points along the run to make life easier. They are all accessible, but the head discharge especially is a real pain. THere are some water runs that are difficult to pull given the grid structure which is both a blessing and a curse. Compared to a Tayana where the hull does not require a grid, wire and plumbing runs are a breeze (well, comparitively).

More cabinetry - especially on the newer boats. Doing it aftermarket is much more labor and time intensive. How many of you wouldn't pay an extra... $5,000 or so (on a $200,000+ boat) to have every square inch of available space utilized? I certainly would. It would also make system access easier.

More access to hull via removeable floorboards. They use a grid structure with a liner on top. They do this for strength and rigidity. They do put some access points via floor boards. However, there is a lot of space that is not utilized which requires after market work to utilize it.

Fractional or cutter rig option or hey... let's even throw in a ketch!!! Wouldn't it be nice to have the option of choosing your preferred rig? I realize that this would change the design of the boat, but as different people have different purposes in mind, I think it would open up more people to their boats. Of course, I know no one that does this... so this is just dreaming.

Different portholes. I strongly prefer the SS screw down dog types for a variety of reasons. I know there are owners that have pulled out their plastic portlights and replaced with these. It is on my wishlist, honestly. I have had them leak on previous boats... not this one so far. The other swill leak too... but they are less prone to problems and certainly of stronger design.

Installing on all 32+ foot boats clip on points around the boat for Jacklines. Valiant does this. Some others do it too. You can do this yourself, but it requires considerably more time than what it would take at the factory.

If you will notice, many of my wishes revolve around my intended use for the boat. For anyone that was going to be on a lake or strictly coastal and not LA, would they care less? In fact, they would not want to pay the extra money for stuff they would never use. So maybe if you could pull your boat off the line and have some custm work done during layup, that would be helpful. Still, most of the things I have listed above are things about NONE of the production builders do. I am not picking on Catalina. For the price and product, it is a good value (in my opinion, the best). I have owned four now... and I am certainly not alone. In fact, the last guy I met that just bought a Valiant 50 (not a cheap boat folks... let me tell you) owned a Catalina 36 beforehand (and he could obviously afford about anything he wanted). So consider the loyal following they have and it might give you a fair appreciation for why their boats cost a bit more and hold their value well.

Just my thoughts. Others will dissagree, and that is fine.

Brian
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  #130  
Old 04-02-2009
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That article has got to be wrong factually. I saw no mention of installing the BBQ grills...

All your other points make a lot of sense though... for once.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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